Azzam Azzam, a former Druse businessman who was imprisoned in Egypt for eight years on espionage charges and released through the efforts of former prime minister Ariel Sharon spoke out against Egyptian allegations that three Israelis were spying for Israel, Army Radio reported on Sunday. "The story is a bluff, it was obvious to me that the moment Cairo finds a window of opportunity to do so, they will frame more Israelis," he said.
Egypt accuses Israelis of espionage
The reason for the latest turn of events, said Azzam, was "Egypt's hate towards the State of Israel and its citizens."
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry was looking into the reports which said Egypt's state security prosecutor had charged the Israelis with harming national interests.
The ministry was also investigating whether Egypt had extradition treaties with Turkey and Canada - the two countries where the Israeli suspects are said to be staying. "These kinds of agreements," said the ministry "could complicate matters for us."
A former Egyptian student, also said to be involved, was arrested Jan. 1 after returning to Cairo from abroad. Mohammed al-Attar allegedly left Egypt in 2001 for Turkey, where he met the three Israelis who allegedly recruited him to collect information about Egyptians and other Arabs living in Turkey and Canada in return for money.